Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday demanded that authorities conduct a prompt and impartial investigation into the killing of journalist and rights monitor Zaman Mehsud.
Mehsud was gunned down by unidentified persons near Tank on Monday. He was shot four times: twice in the chest and twice in the legs. Mehsud was admitted to the intensive care unit, but succumbed to his injuries.
Mehsud was associated with numerous publications, including Daily Ummat Karachi and Nai Baat and was also working as a monitor for the nongovernmental Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in South Waziristan.
Claiming responsibility of the attack, Taliban commander Qari Saif Ullah Saif told Reuters: “We killed him because he was writing against us … we have some other journalists on our hit list in the region, soon we will target them.”
“The Taliban’s claim of responsibility for this latest killing of a journalist shows a cruel disregard for human life and free speech,” said Brad Adams, HRW Asia director. “Pakistan’s government needs to move to bring the perpetrators of attacks on journalists to justice if these crimes are to stop.”
Earlier in September this year, a senior journalist Aftab Alam was shot dead in North Karachi area of Karachi.
Alam, who had been associated with different media organisations, was shot dead near UP Morr in North Karachi within the limits of Sir Syed police station. Police officials said Alam was leaving home to pick up his children from the school when gunmen riding a motorcycle opened indiscriminate fire on his car.
Pakistan remains one of the most dangerous countries for journalists as it was ranked ninth on the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) Global Impunity Index. CPJ in its annual report noted that seven journalists and media workers were killed during 2014.
Since 1992, the CPJ said it has confirmed that 56 journalists in Pakistan had been killed in direct reprisal for their work.